England v Sri Lanka, World T20, Group 1, Chittagong March 27, 2014

Hales ton keeps England alive


England 190 for 4 (Hales 116*, Morgan 57) beat Sri Lanka 189 for 4 (Jayawardene 89, Dilshan 55) by six wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

A breathtaking display from Alex Hales, who hammered England's first T20 hundred, inspired a beleaguered team to their highest-ever T20 run chase as they hunted down 190 to overcome Sri Lanka and keep alive a realistic chance of progressing in the tournament.

It was an astonishing turnaround after a shambolic fielding display which included four dropped catches and a missed run-out to allow Sri Lanka to reach an imposing 189 including a stand of 145 between Mahela Jayawardene and Tillakaratne Dilshan. England found themselves 0 for 2 after the first over of their chase before a brilliantly calculated assault by Hales and Eoin Morgan who added 152 in 15.2 overs for the third wicket.

Hales, who was dropped on 55 at deep square-leg by Jayawardene as fielding woes afflicted both teams, closed out the match with three sixes in six balls after Nuwan Kulasekara, who began with a double-wicket maiden, returned to remove Morgan and Jos Buttler in the 17th over to bring Sri Lanka back into the match but they could not stop Hales' onslaught.

The brief role played by Ravi Bopara should not be overlooked either, as he deflected two boundaries to third man in Lasith Malinga's final over to ensure England had some breathing space. Crucially, Malinga went wicketless - and conceded nearly eight an over - while Ajantha Mendis was dispatched for 52 which included 25 off his final over to swing the chase firmly England's way.

Before this match Hales jointly held the record for England's highest T20 innings - 99 shared with Luke Wright - and this time was not to be denied three figures as he cracked a fourth six, over cover, during his final dip to reach a hundred off 60 balls. "It was one of the best knocks I've ever seen," a delighted, relieved, and slightly hoarse Stuart Broad said.

An overseas season of regular misery for England appeared to be having another chapter added to it when Michael Lumb missed his first-over heave at Kulasekara and Moeen Ali edged to second slip first ball, but Hales and Morgan kept their composure which is not something that has been said much of this team in recent months.

After nine overs England were well behind the required rate on 56 for 2, but Morgan then went after Angelo Mathews and Mendis, struggling with a wet ball and not holding any fear. 29 came in the next two overs to kick-start the chase. In the space of six overs, which brought 86 runs, an asking rate that had reached 12.18 came down to far less imposing 9.60.

Morgan's half-century came after a run of 10 T20I innings where he had a top score of 34 and he struck the ball crisply, especially a reverse sweep and a lofted drive over cover off Mendis. Hales' last 54 runs came from just 20 balls and such was the way England targeted Mendis, Mathews and Thisara Perera (off whose bowling Jayawardene spilled Hales) they could afford to take a more cautious approach off Malinga's final two overs.

England's memorable chase meant that a moment of controversy early in the match did not hold as much significance come the end. Facing his first ball, Jayawardene was squared up by Jade Dernbach and the outside edge flew towards Lumb at point who dived forward to claim the chance in a rare example of international-standard fielding. But Jayawardene, as is his right, stood his ground and that immediately threw open the prospect of what happened next.

After rocking and rolling the replays for a considerable time the third umpire, Steve Davis, decided there was enough doubt over whether the ball had carried. There was disbelief from England; Dernbach almost lost his cool although Broad, already a touch light in the pocket after the New Zealand match, just about managed to bite his lip.

What could (and, by all logical views, should) have been 4 for 2 then descended into chaos for England. All their practice with wet balls was certainly not a case of making perfect. Jayawardene was given three lives - a catch on 19, a run out on 42 and another catch on 80 - while the out-of-form Dilshan was shelled on 21 during a half-century that equalled his slowest in T20. To cap the innings, Thisara Perera was put down in the last over by Bopara at wide long-on who, surprisingly, was not given a bowl.

But while he had fortune, Jayawardene also played another calculated and deft T20 innings. His fifty came off 32 balls and his next 37 runs took 18 balls to leave him within sight of a second century before he missed a straight ball from Chris Jordan. At the midway mark few expected him to be on the losing side.

Andrew McGlashan is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • VIJAY on March 29, 2014, 7:18 GMT

    I thought SL's semi final spot is in danger, but now its ranking in T20 also in danger....in fact it went to India....within 2 days, SL faced many set backs, im enjoying it greatly....can i ask one question to SL fans...who is your captain?

  • Vijay P on March 29, 2014, 5:27 GMT

    @Ethan Anderson: because SL fans do the same thing to Ind when they lose one.

  • Android on March 29, 2014, 0:10 GMT

    to all other cricket fans (specially Indian fans) .... for just loosing 1 match u guys are talking that SL is a poor team, can't win matches etc..... I don't know why the hell u guys are mentioning SL as that for just 1 match

  • Dummy4 on March 28, 2014, 19:07 GMT

    I hope this opens SLC's eyes about Mendis (especially when playing at a wet outfield). The whole world knows that Mendis has such a delicate grip that a slightly wet ball would trouble his grip and therefore his variations - which gets him wickets. Herath MUST be played instead of Mendis as the next games for SL will be played at night.

    And about Lumb's 'catch' off Mahela, I think the ICC replied to everyone on that!! LOL @ everyone who blamed the 3rd umpire, and Mahela for not walking (and how exactly would the batsman know whether it was a clean catch or not???). Perfect example of people freaking out before they know the facts. If anyone's still unsure, watch the video on the ICC website :)

    And obviously, well played to Hales and Morgan for playing so well after being 0 for 2 wickets and winning the match for England :) They took full use of Mendis that day and that expensive' over of his was the game-changer.

    Good luck in the next game against NZ, SL! :)

  • Anthony on March 28, 2014, 19:02 GMT

    @Jason Herft, I agree wholeheartedly with your comments. Also, it was a good win by England. Hope they qualify for the semis. I was happy when Sri Lanka won the Asia Cup recently reflecting their prowess at currently being the best in Asia on the 50 over format. If other nations and their fans disagree, how else can this point be proved, apart from demonstrating it on the field of play as they did a couple of weeks ago. I have greater respect for the 50 over format than the butchery and muscle game of the T20s, also sometimes perhaps unfairly described as cowboy cricket by some true cricket lovers. If Sri Lanka are not able to win the World T20s, it will not bother me. And if they do win it, it will be a bonus for this tiny island of 20 million people, with their reputation of producing innovative cricket.

  • Paulo on March 28, 2014, 17:28 GMT

    @JG2704 agree that the bowling seems "regimented". Perhaps Broad's captaincy being all about following orders. Or too much meticulous planning.

    Re Buttler, he has certainly improved recently, and I forgot about the victory you mentioned, so thanks for htat. But in the back of my mind, a concern is developing that chases build too much pressure on him- he often gets low scores. CT13 final, vs New Zealand at Ageas bowl, one of the matches in WI- it all builds up unfortunately. It's just a mild concern, but a concern nontheless.

  • Hemmie on March 28, 2014, 16:44 GMT

    There was a lot of talk about Jayawardene's catch and lots of pundits saying it is a catch not given, however if you see the ICC released footage that clearly shows it was marginally bounced before England player took the catch, I think player would not know whether it is bounced, to be fair to him. Well done Steve Davis, great use of technology. I tell all cricket lovers to go and check the footage released by ICC with all angles and super slow-mo. This was broadcast in the live stream but given to 3rd umpire request. I can't give the link here, sorry.

    Also no one talks about Kusal's dismissal which clearly he did not nick. Thanks for getting only one bad dismissal and not two, would have been disastrous for ICC.

    Excellent batting from Hales, it is a great individual performance than a English team show. Sri-Lanka bad luck this times but keep the team spirit. Select the true best bowling unit for the next match.

    please publish..

  • Android on March 28, 2014, 16:44 GMT

    Meanwhile, India now displaces Sri Lanka as no 1 in ICC T20 rankings.

  • John on March 28, 2014, 11:19 GMT

    @ SriLankanYoungBlood on (March 27, 2014, 18:31 GMT) I think you're being harsh on SL MJ here. Re Dilshan - I don't think it was selfish inns , more a case of the guy not being up to scratch these days. I've not followed SL in great detail but whenever I've watched him play he seems to have stagnated the RR at the top. It could be a case of him overtrying. The 1st over Bres bowled he hit a 6 off the 1st ball but then 5 dots.

  • John on March 28, 2014, 11:18 GMT

    @kovinbuddi - possibly agree re not using AM again but I would have used Mallinga in the same way and at the same time. Re "Just Bowling Yorkers" - just bowling Yorkers is a high skill and Mallinga does it better than pretty much everyone. He bowled with 33 runs needed off 18 balls. Realistically you'd have expected him to go for around 6/7 and maybe even pick up a wicket.Had he picked up the wicket Eng were into their bowlers and SL would have been huge favourites. The 2 balls Bopara hit for 4 were beautiful deliveries but beautifully manufactured shots from Bopara. In most cases those deliveries would have gone for singles at worst. I suppose they could have set a 3rd man for these balls but I would rather have bowled Mallinga then and leave whoever else to defend a larger target than have Mallinga defending 7 or 8 or less off the last over. Also isn't the Yorker a key wicket taking weapon for LM? If he bowled shorter etc there is more risk of boundaries etc